The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is accusing a Cedar Hill man of targeting churchgoers in a digital currency investment scam that totaled at least $1.1 million.
In a complaint filed Monday in federal court in Dallas, the SEC described Clifton Curtis Sneed Jr. as a “recidivist securities law violator” and said he portrayed himself as an investment expert from 2014 through 2019 while hiding his lengthy record of securities violations.
Sneed lied to clients about his financial certifications and failed to disclose that he was receiving commissions from the companies that he recommended to clients, according to the SEC. The complaint said clients lost about $1.1 million while Sneed pocketed at least $400,000 in commissions.
Now incarcerated at a low-security federal corrections institution in Seagoville, Sneed is awaiting criminal trial over related wire and securities fraud charges.
In examples cited by the SEC, Sneed defrauded “numerous” clients, including a pastor and a widow, through his company, The Trade Group, which specifically targeted church members.
“[T]he lord called on me to bless others with this knowledge and opportunity to allow them to also live a stress-free life,” Sneed wrote in an ebook he published and provided to clients, according to the SEC. “So TTG was created to give Christians an opportunity to live a wealthy and prosperous life.”
He offered the 81-year-old widow in Desoto the opportunity to invest in a cryptocurrency scheme in mid-2017 that he guaranteed would yield returns of 25% to 60% a month, the complaint said.
Sneed never contacted the woman again after he received her investment, the SEC alleged.
“The elderly widow and several other TTG clients who invested … based on Sneed’s recommendation lost all of their money,” according to the complaint.
The SEC has charged Sneed in the past for violating anti-fraud and securities registration laws. Sneed played a prominent role in an alleged $18 million Ponzi scheme operating from April 2001 until at least May 2005, according to the SEC.
Sneed pleaded guilty to felony securities fraud and other securities violations in Utah. He was ordered to cease and desist from offering securities in several states, including Georgia, Alabama, Utah and Texas on “numerous occasions” for more than a decade, according to the SEC.